Posted by Martin on November 12, 2012
Some of Roger Morrow’s Poles, sculpted by Paul Hicks.
An example of Frank Hammond’s Minden Miniatures sculpted by Richard Ansell.
It’s funny how things can seem to take on a life of their own. Before I started the BfK Limited Edition Figures Project, I had hardly taken any notice of other people who had commissioned figures for their own purposes. Now I find myself thinking of little else in hobby terms and I am constantly on the look out for other people afflicted with this same peculiar brand of insanity as me.
On top of that, I’ve talked myself into a situation where I actually need to find such people. Why? Because, following an e-mail discussion with Dan at Wargames Illustrated magazine, I’ve been commissioned to write a whole article about the gentlemanly eccentricity of privately commissioning one’s own figures. Now the intention is to base the core of the piece on my own little project, so I have plenty of time to plan things out and get the writing done. What I have realised, though, is that it would be a richer article if I could draw on the experience of others who have already trod this path. By which I mean people who have done it for personal rather than commercial reasons but may have chosen to defray at least some of the costs by making their figures available for sale.
Luckily, I already knew of a couple of foolhardy brave souls who have been at it far longer than me. One is Roger Morrow who has gradually been building his personal range of 1813 Poles; the other is Frank Hammond who has spent a number of years steadfastly satisfying his own stylistic preference for the kind of Seven Years War collection he wants. I am delighted to say that both these fine fellows have consented to answer my series of dilettante questions. Without giving away the game – you’ll need to wait for the article to be published – there’s a lot of commonality between what Frank and Roger have told me.
Despite already gathering plenty of material, I’m on the lookout for more examples of private figure commissions. So, if you’ve done it or know somebody who has and who is willing to submit to my interrogation for the article, please feel free to contact me.
Posted in Announcements, BfK Limited Edition Figures, Commissions | Tagged: Frank Hammond, Minden Miniatures, Roger Morrow, Wargames Illustrated | 6 Comments »
Posted by Martin on April 11, 2011
Pommeranian drummer work in progress.
It’s time to unveil what else has been lurking on my painting desk lately. The limelight has been hogged by Westphalia but alongside a commission for that Prussian province, I’ve also been quietly chipping away at another commission for a different province: a small set of figures representing troops of the 2nd Prussian line infantry regiment (AKA the 1st Pommeranian infantry regiment).
For those of you interested in uniformology, one of the Richard Knötel plates provides good coverage (Band XXIII, Plate 16) but it’s a rather rare one and I don’t have a digital version I can share. Another good source of information is Peter Bunde’s Brigade Uniform Plate 142. Unlike the reserve and landwehr infantry, the line infantry regiments’ uniform details are relatively straightforward. The uniform for the 1st Pommeranian infantry regiment followed the standard Prussian line infantry pattern with white being the distinctive provincal colour used for cuffs and collars. The shoulder straps for this regiment are also white because it is the first (i.e. most senior) regiment from the province.
The picture here shows my work-in-progress on a drummer and this is the one figure in the batch that has given me some difficulties in terms of historical accuracy. There are two problems that I’ve had to tackle: the shoulder swallow’s nests and the drum hoops. As you can see, I’ve already plunged in on the shoulder swallow’s nests. Normally, these are in the provincal colour with white piping but the hard to answer question was what should happen when the provincial colour is also white? I was faced with a choice of two options – to do everything white or to follow what is shown in Stephen Summerfield’s excellent book Prussian Regular & Guard Infantry 1808-1840 Vol 1: Line & Guard 1808-1814 which depicts a musician of the regiment with red-piped-white shoulder swallow’s nests. I’ve no reason to doubt Stephen’s research and he claims his illustration is after Herbert Knötel (though I’d be interested to know which specific plate). So red and white it is!
That still leaves me with a dilemma over the drum hoops. I’m fairly confident that they, too, would have been red and white but sources conflict on the matter of pattern. Some indicate alternate dog’s teeth triangles while others suggest alternate diagonal stripes. Luckily, this will be almost the last part of the figure I paint, so there’s time yet to come up with an answer. Can any of you point me at a reliable source? In the worst case, I’ll pick Peter F’s brains at Salute next weekend.
Posted in Commissions, On the Workbench | Tagged: Calpe, Painting, Pommerania, Prussia, Uniformology | 2 Comments »
Posted by Martin on April 8, 2011
Completed Westphalian Landwehr Infantry Casualties.
So here they are in all their glory – my first completed piece of commission work (three Calpe Miniatures figures painted as Westphalian Landwehr infantry), all ready to be carefully packed up and sent on their way to their new home (in Australia, would you believe it?). What do you think? Not too shabby and a valuable learning experience for me that, for the most part, confirms that I made the correct decisions when I set out the terms under which I’d accept commissions. Most especially, it confirms the need for the customer to be patient, extremely patient. I fee luck that the two people from whom I have accepted commissions have both proved to be true gentlemen in this respect. One of them is already prepared to put up with waiting even longer for a second small commission to be completed. But more of that another time…
There are a couple more pictures in the Gallery and I’m happy to entertain questions about these figures and the painting, varnishing and basing techniques I’ve used.
Posted in Commissions, On the Workbench | Tagged: Calpe, Prussia | 4 Comments »
Posted by Martin on March 20, 2011
Three stages in basing the casualty figures.
I’ve not posted much from my own workbench lately so here’s a snapshot of the work in progress on basing the three Westphalian Landwehr casualties. I’m in the home straight but it still seems to be taking longer that I expected to get over the finishing line.
My customer supplied three 3mm thick circular plywood bases for these figures and you can see those in the picture above. I gloss and matt varnished the figures prior to gluing them to the bases and that’s the stage you can see in the leftmost figure. The next stage is to build up the basework to the level of the figures’ metal bases using putty. For this I use a mixture of green stuff and Sylmasta A+B putty. I find this mixture much easier to manipulate than pure green stuff. The middle figure has reached this stage.
After the putty has set, I apply a thin layer of slightly watered down PVA glue to the base and dip it into my tub of basing material. The core component on my basing material is N-gauge railway modelling ballast. This is a bit coarser than the sand that may wargamers use for basing and I prefer this texture. Along with that I dot around some bits and pieces of different sizes for variety. These are mostly other sizes of stone, the occasional piece of cat litter and sometimes a a small cork pellet. You can see this stage in the rightmost figure. Sometimes I need to a second selective coat of glue and ballast to fill in gaps. It’s important the let the first coat dry out thoroughly beforehand otherwise things can very very messy very quickly!
The fourth stage is paintwork. I’ll apply some darker earth tones across the base and paint the larger base elements (like the cat litter) before finishing off with some drybrushed coats of pale sandy colours. After that, I just need to glue the caps and muskets in place. Final pictures will follow once all three figures are complete.
Posted in Commissions, On the Workbench | Tagged: Basing, Calpe, Prussian | Leave a Comment »